The boys peeking into the Cadillac’s tinted windows
know nothing of disguises. Have never seen a man,
bronzed, lower his window, exhaling cigar smoke
to trellis their eyelashes. Lower now, the window
at the bottom of its decline, and the man’s finger
points and curves to summon one of the boys
to get inside. Knuckles deranged with opulent stones
hypnotize the youth to come. The boy is hungry today
as he was yesterday and the days before. Dirty, angry,
he enters at the envy of his peers who stone the car
as it veers beyond the dust they call their homes.
When he returns, someone will call him beautiful—
the boy well-muscled in an Italian suit. His face will
become legend: hydrants will burst as he walks by;
infants will die instantly when they see his slicked-
back hair, square-toe shoes of glazed cobra skin.
But this will be years after he is taken, taught leather
swings, the language of bridle and metal bit. The boys,
now men, will see the suit, the clean-shaven cheeks
and give him their sons, or themselves. They will
remember their calloused soles, lice in their scalps
parted like fjords; remember his hand reaching inside
the Cadillac, smoke licking foreshadow down
his chest. What now with the scene, the boy-man
closing in, welcomed and therefore home?
What name to give this moment deftly carved
in the pastoral of, if they are beautiful, longing;
if not, then them conjoined, faltering: lambs without
a shepherd, one lamb not anymore a lamb?